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A ray of hope for Ismail in Bangladesh

While the healing powers of herbal medicines are increasingly well known, they remain largely undiscovered in rural Bangladesh. Ismail Hossain is determined to change this with his new business venture.

Ismail lives with his mother and grandfather in Rashidpur village in Rangpur district of Bangladesh. As well as studying towards an under-graduate degree, he is working to create a good living for the family on his grandfather’s small plot of land.

A good motivator

Ismail became a part of the Empower Youth for Work (EYW) project and a member of the Akota Ward Youth Forum in 2017. He received three days of soft skills training and became a peer facilitator of the training the following year. An enthusiastic participant in awareness-raising activities, group meetings and union-level campaigns, Ismail was recongised as being a good motivator among his peers, which led to him becoming a member of the Union Apex Body in 2018.

Herbal remedies and dragon fruit

Inspired by seeing what other youth group members were doing to improve their situation, Ismail decided that he too could start his own small business. After completing EYW’s soft skills and entrepreneurship skills training, he got in touch with the Sub-district Agriculture Extension Office and received training on farming, herbal medicine and dragon fruit cultivation.

With a loan from his family, Ismail started growing vegetables on his grandfather’s plot during the Covid-19 lockdown. Based on his sound business plan, the EYW project provided an additional grant which enabled Ismail to grow plants used for herbal remedies, creating a strong business opportunity. He is already earning around BDT 16,000 per month and plans to begin producing dragon fruit next year. During the time of Covid-19, Ismail’s positive venture brings a ray of hope.